Food and memories: Sanjay Gopinath

Food and memories*: SANJAY GOPINATH
 “I grew up near my maternal grandmother’s house. She was also an awesome cook. And for all my luck her signature dish was sardine with mango. Sardine was and still is one of the cheapest, most nutritious and tastiest of fishes. Of course, she made it the best way. Once during Onam, she had stealthily kept some of this curry in the darkest corner of the kitchen for me.
Onam — though the biggest festival in Kerala — is celebrated without non-vegetarian dishes in our region. She clearly understood where it hurt most for me! My father’s mother was a vegetarian. Yet, I have some fond fish curry memories with her.
The good part was that I had made my food habits very evident. I used to eat very little, and without some sort of fish preparation, even less. The onus was on the loving grandmother to impress her carnivorous grandson. Though she hated the smell of fish, she advised her daughter — my aunt — to make my favourite dish whenever I landed up at my parents’. The combination was tapioca with sardine curry. My tongue always rolled inside the lips to taste the last drop! Ammoomma, as I used to call her, sat at a distance from us, eating her vegetarian lunch, while we basked in the smell and taste of the sardine curry made in grated and fried coconut.”
*The Hindu, March 19, 2017
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